Investigating the Roots of Traditional African Medicine.

A new research center is delving into a rich, as-yet-untapped reservoir of African medical knowledge, seeking new treatments for AIDS and other diseases by hoping, in effect, the witch-doctors really will tell us what to do:

How safe and effective these treatments are will be the focus of The International Center for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies (TICIPS), a collaborative research effort between the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

Folk and U.S. research teams from MU, University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), Missouri Botanical Garden, University of Texas and Georgetown University will partner with Quinton Johnson, director of the South African Herbal Science and Medicine Institute and co-director of TICIPS at the University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town, University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZ-N) in South Africa, and South African traditional healers. Together, they will study the medicinal properties, safety and effectiveness of several African plants in use today by traditional healers. South Africa is home to more than 200,000 traditional healers who care for more than 27 million people.

Bing. Bang. Betcha they’ll find something interesting.

(EDIT: There’s more on the TICIPs page and some ongoing research on the South African Herbal Science and Medicine Institute page.)